7 Lower-Body Exercises to Improve Running Economy

You probably see a lot of people at the gym doing several sets of leg extensions, leg curls and presses, and something that resembles a squat, but doesn't quite cut it. If you want to develop your posterior chain, don't follow this example.

A strong backside doesn't come from three sets of 10 reps on a leg machine. It comes from squats, single-leg deadlifts, lunges and sprints. A strong lower back, glutes and hamstrings, will not only help you increase your speed, they'll also help you improve your running economy.

Posterior Chain Pointers:
  • The hamstrings are constructed with a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, so they must be trained with heavier weight and lower reps.
  • Most endurance athletes will have to work the posterior chain harder initially to overcome the muscle imbalance caused by strong, powerful quads.
  • These workouts should be done 1 to 2 times a week depending on your training/race schedule.
  • Don't forget the little exercises such as clamshells, fire hydrants and lateral-band walks. It's important to strengthen the gluteus medius. These exercises will improve hip stability and increase stability in the knee joint.

Discuss This Article

Get ACTIVE on the Go

Couch to 5K®
Couch to 5K®

Couch to 5K®

The best way to get new runners off the couch and across the finish line of their first 5K.

Available for iOS | Android

Connect With Us